The Brisbane Lions NEAFL team have ended their pre-season preparations with a victory over the Gold Coast SUNS at Metricon Stadium on Sunday in both sides’ final hitout before Round 1.
In what turned out to be hot conditions for football, the Lions – despite starting slow – took control in the third quarter to win the match 14.13 (97) to 7.5 (47).
The Suns came out of the blocks hot leading at both quarter and half time before the Lions kicked seven unanswered goals in the third to take the lead.
Gold Coast fielded 14 AFL-listed players but lost Jez McLennan (knee) and Corey Ellis (ankle) to injuries in the first quarter.
The Lions, with a strong side boasting 19 AFL-listed players, were able to run the match out stronger as the Suns were hampered by rotations with only one player on the bench for over a half following concussion to academy player Ryan Gilmore.
Lions Coach Mitch Hahn said it was important for the group to respond after a slow start.
"The first quarter we didn’t play the way we wanted to and after that in the second quarter we started to wrestle back the ascendency, albeit we didn’t hit the scoreboard the way we would have liked,” he told neafl.com.au.
First round Draft Pick Ely Smith was impressive for the Lions.
Smith ran through the midfield for a majority of the day with his tackling pressure and ability to find the ball a welcome sight for Lions fans.
For the Suns, Ben King was also impressive playing up forward, leading well for two first half goals.
Cedric Cox kicked three majors with the experienced duo of Allen Christensen and Lewis Taylor remaining potent all day running through the Lions midfield. Both playing their share of forward and back flank.
“They’ll be able to educate the new guys around what is a new system for these (young) guys to come into which is fantastic for their development,” Hahn said of Christensen and Taylor.
The Lions are expected to take a similar line-up to Darwin next week, where they take on NT Thunder in a Round 1 blockbuster on Saturday night.
Hahn said it has been a solid pre-season for the Club, and they’ll head into the season proper with some confidence behind them.
“We feel like we’re really well placed with the way we go about it,” he said.
Eyes do now turn to next weeks tough road trips for both sides with the Lions on the road against the NT Thunder in Darwin and the SUNS travelling to Canberra to face the Demons.
Gold Coast Suns vs Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium
BRISBANE 0.2 2.8 9.11 14.13 (97)
GOLD COAST 2.3 6.3 6.3 7.5 (47)
Brisbane: C Cox 3 N Robertson 2 A Christensen 2 B Keays T Cutler S Skinner C Stackelberg T Wooller C Ballenden.
Gold Coast: B King 2 C Nutting B Crossley W Brodie A Young F Greenwool.